Trans-Mongolian_Express__Eastbound_ by shitingting

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									Trans-Mongolian Express
Eastbound
01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 Also runs from:01/01/2009 to 31/12/2009
Duration: 21 days (St Petersburg to Beijing)

Highlights:
Discover the canals of St Petersburg, Feast on traditional Russian delights, Explore a
medieval village steeped in a millennium of Russian history, Buy a communist-era relic
at Moscow's Izmaylovo Market, Unwind aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway, Enjoy local
hospitality at Lake Baikal, Take an invigorating banya sauna then plunge into a freezing
lake, Journey across the Mongolian steppes, Stand atop the Great Wall of China
Trip Code: OSB
Guarantee: Departure is guaranteed, subject to 4 people travelling
Group Size: Minimum 4, Maximum 12
Carbon: 775 CO2-e kgs per pax

Price: Prices from GBP £2010

 Days 1-3 St Petersburg
This rail odyssey begins in St Petersburg, the shining star of early modern Russia. The Hermitage
Museum within the illustrious Winter Palace is a must-see for its huge collection of artistic
treasures, while the city's baroque architecture and European atmosphere is sure to charm.

Day 4 Suzdal
Part of Russia's famed Golden Ring of ancient capitals, this town holds a millennium of Russian
history. Wander down rustic lanes and be enchanted by the medieval monasteries and cathedrals.
Relax by the riverside with a glass of medovukha, a local specialty made from honey, and enjoy
the picturesque views.

Days 5-7 Moscow
Russia's capital is a unique blend of Orthodox churches, communist relics and brash capitalism.
With their contrasting heritages, St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin both lend grandeur to this
bustling city.

Days 8-10 Trans-Siberian Railway
The first leg of the Trans-Siberian train journey travels deep into the dense Siberian taiga - a
perfect opportunity to chill out, sip tea with the locals and watch the scenery pass by. There are
many stops along the way, providing a chance to stock up on dumplings at impromptu market
stalls.

Days 11-12 Irkutsk/ Lake Baikal
Head to the world’s largest freshwater lake. Experience a homestay on the banks of tranquil Lake
Baikal for a unique insight into traditional life.

Days 13-14 Irkutsk/ Trans-Mongolian Railway
Wander the streets of Irkutsk and explore the city's mix of traditional Siberian buildings and stark
communist-era architecture. Delve into romantic local history with a visit to the Museum of Mariya
Volkonskaya, Princess of Siberia, before departing the land of Lenin and venturing into the
grasslands of Ghengis Khan via the border town of Sukhbaatar.

Days 15-18 Ulaanbaatar/ Ger Camp
Learn about Mongolia's turbulent history by exploring some of Ulaanbaatar’s fine museums,
monasteries and palaces. Spend a night in a simple ger camp in a magnificent national park.

Days 19-21 Beijing
China's impressive capital offers up a wealth of historical sights. Admire the Forbidden City and
Tiananmen Square. Then stand atop the Great Wall and marvel at the might of the Middle
Kingdom. Be sure to take time out from sight seeing to pick up a bargain or three from the Silk
Markets.


trip notes: OSB
validity: 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010
Please note: These Trip Notes are valid for 2010 departure
dates only and are subject to change. It is important that
you review the Trip Notes closer to your departure date for
the most up-to-date information.

Welcome to Intrepid real life experiences... we hope that you enjoy exploring the world as much as
we do.

Join us on an awe-inspiring journey traversing three great nations and a quarter of the globe. From
the opulence of Moscow and St Petersburg to the grace of imperial Beijing, travel along the most
famous railway in the world through the heartland of Siberia, the vast grassy steppes of Mongolia
and the raw beauty of the Gobi Desert. This is rail adventure at its finest.


Itinerary Disclaimer

The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note: occasionally our itineraries are
updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments
and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. As such the
information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It is VERY
IMPORTANT that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel,
in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated trip notes please visit
our website: www.intrepidtravel.com <http://www.intrepidtravel.com/>


Itinerary
Days 1-3 St Petersburg

Zdrastvuyte! Welcome to Russia.

You can arrive at any time on day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome
meeting at 6:00 pm. We will be collecting your local payment, insurance details and next of kin
information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
Your group leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take
place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. If you are going to be late please
inform the hotel reception (see joining point instructions). Your leader will leave details for your late
arrival on where and when to meet.
Check-in time is after 12:00 noon. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early,
luggage storage is available. Please speak to the hotel reception on arrival. Our hotel is very centrally
located just off Nevsky Prospekt and a 15-minute walk from the Moscow Railway Station.

Please be aware that Russia requires all foreign nationals to register their passports upon arrival in
each city. Hotel rules vary as to the time period within which registration has to be submitted from
between 24-72 hrs after arrival. Intrepid will take responsibility for registration of passports at our
first place of stay in Russia including any associated costs as well as in any cities in which we stay for
more than 72 hrs. If you are arriving in Russia before the trip starting date or staying extra days after
the trip has finished, whether at our Intrepid hotels or at accommodation of your choice you will
need to be responsible for your own passport registration and any extra charges for this service. We
recommend that you request registration even if your stay in Russia pre- or post-trip is only for one
extra night. Some hotels may charge up to RUB500 for registration. Failure to register on arrival or
post trip could lead to problems at immigration when departing the country.

Our journey commences in one of Europe's finest cities, St Petersburg, built of baroque European
architecture combined with the opulent palaces of Russian royalty. This is a city built by the Russian
tsar Peter the Great and his legacy will clearly be felt as we explore its enigmatic streets and visit its
showcase cathedrals and museums.

If you arrive early we recommend you visit St Isaac's Cathedral and climb to the colonnade from
where you will have magnificent views over the city, take a tour of the city's network of canals, walk
along Nevsky Prospekt - St Petersburg's main thoroughfare and maybe pop into one of the many
bakeries or pancake shops along the way or head down to Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra where Russia's
great musicians and writers like Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky are laid to rest in the cemetery. St
Petersburg is a beautiful city that has so much to offer visitors that we definitely recommend arriving
a few days early so you can fit it all in.

We'll take a walking tour of this amazing city after breakfast on the morning of day 2 and explore the
backstreets to see the city from a perspective that most visitors never would.

On day 3 you have the day to yourself - we suggest a visit to the vast Hermitage Museum to immerse
yourself in the treasures, which for many make up the world's premier art collection. Please note
that in high season (May to September) there can be very long queues to enter the Hermitage. In
order to avoid waiting to enter and to make the most of your free day it is possible to book tickets to
the Hermitage online in advance from the museum's website: http://hermitagemuseum.org.

That evening we walk the 15 mins from our hotel to the station to take our first overnight train. For
those trips departing St Petersburg on an odd date we will take the train direct to Vladimir (approx.
11 hrs). Those departing on even dates will take the train to Moscow (approx. 8 hrs) before
transferring by a combination of metro and public bus (approx. 3 hrs) to Vladimir.

All of the trains along our journey are simple but comfortable. There is a toilet/bathroom at the end
of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look
after your needs and each compartment has four bunks with luggage storage space inside the
compartment. There is hot water available for making drinks or instant meals and tea, coffee and
snacks are usually available for purchase onboard.


Day 4 Suzdal
After our arrival in Vladimir on day 4, we transit by mini van (approx 30 mins) to Suzdal - one of the
towns in the famous Golden Ring of ancient Russian capitals.

This is a town seemingly untouched by time and no place in the world would appear to have as many
glittering church domes on the horizon as Suzdal! We embark on a walking tour of some of the sights
such as the Museum of Wooden Architecture and the Nativity Cathedral with a local guide. In the
evening perhaps have a hearty leisurely dinner in one of the town's restaurants or enjoy a tasting of
traditional mead by the riverside. In Suzdal we stay at a locally owned guest house.

Early mornings are a lovely time to take a walk around the back streets of Suzdal, so perhaps get up
early on day 5 and take in the lovingly decorated wooden cottages and marvel at the many
charismatic churches.


Days 5-7 Moscow

On day 5 we transfer back to Vladimir and then to the modernity of Moscow by public bus or local
train (approx. 3 hrs) and then a quick trip on the metro.

Our accommodation in Moscow is in centrally located apartments hosted by our local friends. Larger
groups will be accommodated in two different flats across the road from each other. Each apartment
sleeps up to seven people in twin and triple rooms with a shared kitchen, separate toilet and
bathroom shared by the group. Please note that as this is home-style accommodation some beds
may be sofas or fold out beds. Situated right in the centre of Moscow and within walking distance
from the Kremlin, the apartments will be our bases for exploring this exciting city and are a great
insight into how the typical urban Russian lives.

The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and change, from the days of the Tsars
through to the communist era and the growing pains of democracy. Beneath its modern veneer - a
sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism - Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of
sights to discover.

On day 6 we take a morning tour to Lenin's Mausoleum and the Kremlin, leaving us with a free
afternoon to explore further.

You might like to step inside St Basil's Cathedral, relive the nation's turbulent past at Victory Park or
travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery. The Izmaylovo Markets are 20
mins away by metro and are considered the best place for souvenir shopping, or pretend you have a
credit limit on a level with Moscow's new elite and browse in the luxurious GUM department store.
To really experience Moscow life though, you need to ride the metro, admire the marble and
mosaics that decorate the stations and get up close and personal with the city's citizens as they do
their daily commuting.

On Day 7 you'll have some free time, before we take the metro to the station and board the Trans-
Siberian Railway for the 4 night/3 day epic journey across Siberia (approx. 90 hrs).


Days 8-10 Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world's most famous train line. It is also the longest, extending
from Moscow across Siberia to the far-flung town of Vladivostok. We experience a section of this
celebrated rail journey, boarding in Moscow and travelling approximately 90 hrs across five time
zones to Irkutsk. Along the way, we wind through typical Siberian villages, big industrial Russian
cities and across seemingly endless stretches of taiga.

The train stops roughly every 4-5 hrs of travelling - at major cities in Siberia, and some smaller ones
as well. Station platforms often have an array of food for sale at stalls run by local babushkas. Lists of
stations where we will stop are available, along with time spent at each one. Major stops are Omsk,
Novosibirsk, Mariinsk, Krasnoyarsk and Tayshet. The duration of a stop generally ranges from 2-40
mins but always double check with the carriage attendant - because it's a long wait until the next
train comes through! Remember that trains in Russia run on Moscow time even as we pass through
different time zones, so make sure you and the train are on the same schedule.

A brief word about drinking on the train
Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and Mongolia and can be an enjoyable way to meet
local people as well as interact with your fellow Intrepid travellers. In order to make sure that your
experience of train travel with us is a positive and safe one there are a few things we'd like you to
keep in mind before setting out on your train journey.

While alcohol is available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) should only be
consumed in the dining car. Train security guards keep a very close eye on drunken behaviour and
have the legal right to fine or have removed from the train without warning any passengers who are
intoxicated. Should this happen there is very little we can do to assist you in continuing your journey
with the rest of the group.

Alcoholism is also a serious social problem in Russia and Mongolia so travellers should take care not
to encourage or take part in drinking to excess. While we certainly want all our Intrepid travellers to
have a great holiday it is important that you show due respect for your fellow group members and
keep in mind that many of your local companions use the train as a means of transport to get home
or to work. It is most appreciated if foreign travellers are respectful this, particularly in the mornings
and evenings or when other passengers are sleeping.


Days 11-12 Irkutsk/Lake Baikal

Our long rail journey finally brings us to the charming Siberian city of Irkutsk where we come back to
spend some time on day 13, but first we head out to Lake Baikal and the town of Listvyanka by
private bus (approx 90 mins).


At Baikal, our destination is a village on the shores of the lake. Here we spend 2 nights in the home
of our local friends. Accommodation is on a mixed, multishare basis but is very comfortable and we
are sure to be treated to some great home cooking! We'll have plenty of time to spend exploring the
area and maybe even a chance to take a ferry across to Port Baikal for a hike along the Circum Baikal
Railway. In the evening we'll get the opportunity to experience a banya (Russian sauna) and at the
right time of year, an invigorating swim in this Siberian lake is also highly recommended.


Days 13-14 Irkutsk/Trans-Mongolian Railway
After breakfast on day 13 we will have a transfer by private van back to Irkutsk where we will leave
our luggage in storage and have time until our train to take in this charismatic Siberian city with its
interesting mix of traditional and communist-era influences. Once a boomtown of foreign exiles and
gold merchants, Irkutsk suffered under the new regime that brought Russian architecture and
communist propaganda to its streets. Fortunately, the sophisticated atmosphere it once offered is
not totally lost and Irkutsk remains one of the most charming of Siberia's cities. Some parts of town
are still lined with traditional houses and the old homes of liberal aristocrats exiled from Moscow
early in the 19th century. We will visit the House Museum of Maria Volkonskaya. Sometimes called
the Princess of Siberia, Maria was one of the many Decembrist revolutionaries' wives who
voluntarily accompanied their husbands into exile. Her house is still filled with many of her personal
items and visitors can get a sense of how she must have felt, a young aristocratic woman banished
to the frozen plains of Siberia.

On our orientation walk we will no doubt see some of the original wooden residences and stop off at
the Central Market to taste some of the amazing range of local produce for sale and to stock up
before we depart on board the Trans-Mongolian Railway for a two-night train trip (approx. 40 hrs)
that takes us into Mongolia.

This train is the most basic on our journey - don't expect luxury but be assured of a great local
experience. In particular, the views of wild Mongolia are a real treat. A restaurant car is not normally
provided and if it is, the food can be limited so stock-up well before you leave Irkutsk.

During the journey we cross the border from Russia (Naushki) into Mongolia (Sukhbaatar). There's a
long wait at the border towns while passports are processed, customs does their checks and we wait
for the engine to rejoin the train to take us further on our way. It can sometimes be a long hot and
frustrating day, so a healthy dose of patience and understanding is recommended. After everything
is finally completed we are rewarded with the magical landscapes of Mongolia.


Days 15-18 Ulaanbaatar/Ger Camp

We arrive in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, affectionately called UB, early on day 15.

Crammed between superpowers Russia and China, the independent nation of Mongolia is a true
Intrepid destination that has only recently opened up to tourism. The capital is a city where new
meets old as elderly Mongolians in traditional dress mingle with the nation's young business elite.
Mongolia's close relationship with the old USSR is evident in the Soviet-style architecture and city
layout. Explore the city's many museums to learn about the country's turbulent history, including the
reign of the most famous of Mongolian historical figures - the feared and respected Genghis Khan.
One of the most fascinating is the Intellectual Museum where you can learn about the history and
culture of this intriguing country through puzzles, toys and magic tricks!

After checking into our hotel in the centre of town we will meet with a local guide for a very
different experience. As more and more traditionally nomadic Mongolians are moving to the city in
hope of a better life they bring with them their traditional lifestyle of living in gers and UB is
surrounded by a growing number of such "ger districts". Life here is hard with unemployment high
and little access to facilities such as electricity and running water. With our local guide we will visit
one such district and see how a local organisation is working to improve the lives and opportunities
of Ulaanbaatar's ger residents and will have the chance to take part in one of their volunteer
projects for an hour or so.
On day 16 we travel into one of Mongolia's best national parks -Terelj. These alpine parks are
beautiful places with imposing rock formations and endless forests. We walk through the valleys,
perhaps visit a local Buddhist retreat or a nomadic family and stay overnight in a ger camp.
Accommodation here is simple but very cosy in gers, which are the felt tent-type dwellings of
Mongolia's traditionally nomadic people. In the evening we'll get involved in making our own dinner
by learning to cook buuz - traditional Mongolian dumplings.

The gers at our camp sleep up to 4 people with comfy beds and plenty of blankets. In the colder
months you might want to stoke up the wood heater in the centre of the ger and you'll be toasty
warm in no time! We share our meals together in the dining quarters. Bathroom facilities here are
basic with no showers but toilets and basins with cold water in a support building outside.

We return to our hotel in Ulaanbaatar on day 17. There will be some free time in the afternoon to
explore some more of UB's sights or perhaps shop for locally made felt or cashmere souvenirs. you
could check out the impressive Gandan Monastery, Bogd Khaan Palace and Zaisan Hill, where the
memorial for Soviet/Mongolian friendship offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounds. In
the evening we highly recommend catching a performance of traditional music and dance or
Mongolia's take on classical opera and ballet at one of the city's theatres.

For lunch on day 17 we will have a group meal at a local vegetarian caf�, the profits of which go
towards support Lotus Children's Centre. Lotus is an Intrepid Foundation project and over lunch we
will learn about the important work that they do in helping the street children of Mongolia with
some of the Centre's employees. The rest of the day is yours for shopping for local handicrafts,
taking in a cultural performance or perhaps learning more about Mongolia's Buddhist heritage at the
Gandan Monastery.

Nights 15 and 17 we stay in Ulaanbaatar in a centrally located hotel within walking distance of
Sukhbaatar Square. Please note that due to the fact that much of Ulaanbaatar's infrastructure lacks
regular maintenance, we may only have access to cold water at our hotel. Night 16 is spent at the
Ger Camp.

Please note that due to the high demand for train tickets from Jun-Oct some groups may depart
Ulaanbaatar a day later and stay the extra night in Mongolia at the ger camp. This means you will
arrive in Beijing on day 20 of the trip. Please check to make sure you have the latest copy of the trip
notes so you can check if this will affect your departure.

On day 18 we travel from Mongolia to China, the final leg of our epic train ride. The overnight
journey (approx. 30 hrs) leaves early in the morning and includes a long stop at the Mongolia-China
border where the train changes bogies (wheels) due to the different rail gauges. The train may have
a basic restaurant car but it is advisable to stock up at the supermarket before leaving Ulaanbaatar.


Days 19-21 Beijing

We arrive in Beijing on day 19 in the afternoon and after settling into our hotel, we might head out
for a meal in a local restaurant nearby for our first taste of real Chinese food.

Day 20 is jam packed with activity. In the early morning we travel by private van to the Mutianyu
Great Wall (approx. 2 hrs) - an incredible piece of engineering, stretching approximately 6,000 km
westwards from the Yellow Sea in the east to the Gobi Desert in the west. It was originally
constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north. It's a 30 min climb up
some steep steps to the wall itself but well worth the effort! There is also the option of taking a chair
lift or cable car to the top and back if you are after a more leisurely experience and great views.
We'll have a few hours to explore the winding wall before heading back to the city for the afternoon.
Please note the wall is quite steep in places so make sure you have some appropriate footwear for
this activity. On return to the city we visit historic Tiananmen Square and the ancient Forbidden City
with a local guide.

The Chinese capital, Beijing, is one of the world's most impressive cities - there's just so much to do
in this vibrant metropolis. A great way to get started is by renting a bike and venturing out into the
streets to get a feel for this enormous city. You could ride to the Temple of Heaven or just see where
your wheels take you. A metro and taxi ride can take you to the Summer Palace, once an imperial
residence, or you could visit the Silk, Pearl or Panjiayuan markets for some bargain hunting and
bargaining. We definitely recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of Beijing's sights
and experiences.

It's here that we conclude our incredible journey across three countries and a huge portion of the
globe and we say 'zai jian' to our group. There are no activities planned for day 21 and you are able
to depart the hotel at any time. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can
arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you would like some more time to explore the intriguing city
of Beijing, we recommend you book accommodation to extend your stay.


Arrival Complications

 We don't expect any problems (and nor should you!) but if for any reason you are unable to
commence your
group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or
leave a message for your trip leader.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our
representative within 30 minutes of clearing
customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel,
following the Joining Instructions in the Trip
Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your
return.

No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or
delayed flight arrival. Any
additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.


Joining Point

Grechesky Guest House Гостевой Дом Греч
Grechesky pr. 13
Греческийp
St Petersburg
Russia
Phone: (+7) 812 2713089
Fax: (+7) 812 2710434


Joining Point Instructions

Arrival transfers are available - if you have pre-booked a transfer with us your driver will be waiting
for you in the arrivals section near where you clear customs. The driver will wait for an hour after
your scheduled arrival time. If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time,
please make your own way to the hotel.

St Petersburg's International Airports are Pulkovo 1 & 2, 17 kms to the south of the city. Pulkovo 1
serves mainly domestic and CIS flights, and some international. Pulkovo 2 has the majority of the
international flights. There are shuttle buses between the 2 terminals.

The journey from the airport to our starting point hotel can be done cheaply by public transport.
From outside the terminal there is a bus stop with many buses and mini buses (RUB18-30) which
depart regularly to Moskovskaya (Московская) metro station on the blue line.

From Moskovskaya metro station take the metro (RUB20) to Tekhnologochesky Institute
(Технологический институт) and change to the red line. Our nearest metro station is Ploshchad
Vosstaniya (Пл. Восстания) from which it is a 10-15 minute walk to the hotel.

A taxi to the hotel will cost approximately RUB1000 depending on the time of day and your ability to
negotiate. Agree on a price before you set off. Travel time is about 40 mins depending on traffic.

If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer our local operator will await you holding a sign with
your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall.

In the unlikely event that your transfer is not waiting for you - please call Slava on +7 812 9280739.

Check-in time is 12 noon


Our Joining Point Hotel

Guest House Grechesky is a small comfortable hotel opened in 2002 and located in the historical
center of St. Petersburg, 5 minutes walk from Nevsky Prospect, metro station "Plozhad Vosstania"
and Moscow station (main railway station in the city). The rooms are comfortable, and equipped
with fridge, telephone and satellite TV.


Finishing Point

Harmony Hotel
Youtong St (no. 59 Suzhou Hutong)
Dong Cheng District
Beijing
China
Phone: +86 10 6528 5566
Fax: +86 10 6559 8993
Finishing Point Instructions

A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking.
Transfers cannot be arranged during the trip. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days
prior to your trips start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in
conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Beijing Capital International
Airport is located in northeast of Beijing 25km from the centre of Beijing city. One if the biggest
airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most
international flights depart from Terminal 3. There is an airport bus departing every 15 minutes from
the West gate of the International Hotel (Jiangouman Da Jie), the cost is CNY16. The first bus is at
5.30am and the last bus at 9pm. Take a short taxi ride (approx. 15CNY) to Dongzhimen Station and
take the Airport Express Train (25CNY). The Airport Express Train stops at Terminals 2 and 3 and
operates from 6:00am until 10:30pm. Taxis to Beijing Airport will cost approximately 80-100CNY
(plus 10CNY toll fee). Travel time to Beijing Capital Airport depends largely on time of day and traffic
volume, but leave at least 1 hour if departing from the city centre. If you have booked a post trip
airport transfer, please ask your leader to confirm with our local operator the time of departure and
meeting place. If you have any problems you can also contact our local operator Ms.Qi (+86)
13671299816. Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange
luggage storage at the hotel.


Style
Intrepid Original


This is how it all started; the trips that made us one of the world's leading operators of small group
adventures. And they're still as popular as ever! Original trips are all about variety: the places, the
people, the activities, and even the accommodation and transport we use. From homestays to
market trips to visits to community projects, there's a new experience every day, with many
activities included.


Group Size

Maximum of 12 travellers per group


Accommodation

Hotels (6 nts), Mongolian ger (1 nt), homestay/bed and breakfast (5 nts), overnight trains (8 nts)

Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays
with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only.

The style of accommodation described in the day to day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions,
alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual
accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multi share basis. Please note there may be times when you
share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we
are arriving prior to normal check in time. However this is not always possible which means we will
not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and
explore our new destination.

If you have purchased pre or post trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change
rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

Some of the accommodation along the way are very basic, staying in local guesthouses and
homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold
water only. Please note that at our homestays you might be required to share a room with people of
the opposite sex or with your leader. Because we stay at real people's homes, beds might be pull-out
couches or mattresses on the floor. The style of accommodation described in the day to day itinerary
is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of
availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used
in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our
arrival, especially if we are arriving prior to normal check in time. However this is not always possible
which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can
store our luggage and explore our new destination. If you have purchased pre or post trip
accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation
for these extra nights. Overnight trains are simple but comfortable. There is a toilet/bathroom and
compartments with bunks/berths. Please note that we travel 2nd class on all overnight trains (4
people per compartment). While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be
times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and
carriages. If the group number does not divide into four then you can also expect that some group
members will be sharing a compartment with other travellers. It is NOT possible to upgrade to 1st
class carriages on any section of this trip.


Meals

While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world.
Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On our camping trips
we often cook the region's specialties so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in
deciding where, what and with whom to eat generally not all meals are included in the trip price.
 This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable
you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do
this though. Please check the 'meal inclusions' section of these notes for details of meals included.

Allow USD $600 for meals not included.


Meal Inclusions

7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Single Travellers

With the exception of our Comfort trips, our group trips are designed for shared accommodation
and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same sex for the
duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share. Please note some of our
itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis - where applicable this will
be specified in our Trip Notes. On our Comfort trips you have the choice of sharing or paying a single
supplement. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre- and post-trip
accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.


Transport

Overnight train, minivan, local bus, local train, metro, taxi, walking

There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped.


Activities Included

 This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own
expense. For a list of optional activities and sightseeing available on this trip, see the optional
activities section below. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary,
the cost will not be refunded.

City backstreets walking tour - St Petersburg
Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals - Moscow
Lenin's Mausoleum - Moscow
Walking tour - Suzdal
Banya - Listvyanka
Walking tour - Irkutsk
Central Market - Irkutsk
Maria Volkonsky House Museum - Irkutsk
Buuz making - Terelj NP
Ger district walk - Ulaanbaatar
Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City - Beijing
Great Wall Mutianyu - Beijing


Optional Activities

 We list the following optional activities for your information. This is not an exhaustive list and
should be used as a guide only.
They are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If
you do any of them, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your
participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Intrepid.
Canal tour, St Petersburg - RUB450
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - RUB300
Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg - RUB600-6,000
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - RUB350
Peterhof Palace and Park, St Petersburg - RUB600
Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra & Cemeteries, St Petersburg - RUB150
Kunstkamera Museum, St Petersburg - RUB250
Museum of the Siege of Leningrad, St Petersburg - RUB150
St Isaacs Cathedral, St Petersburg - RUB350
Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow - RUB200
Armoury Museum - RUB700
Izmailovo Vernisazh Markets, Moscow - RUB10
River Cruise, Moscow - RUB350
Russian State Historical Museum, Moscow - RUB250
Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, Moscow - RUB250
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - RUB250
St Basils Cathedral, Moscow - RUB150
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow - RUB1,000-6,000
Mead tasting, Suzdal - RUB150
Regional Museum, Irkutsk - RUB150
Fine Arts Museum, Irkutsk - RUB150
Intellectual Museum, Ulaanbaatar - MNT3000
Museum of Natural History, Ulaanbaatar - MNT3000
Cultural Performance, Ulaanbaatar - MNT7,000-10,000
Opera & Ballet Theatre, Ulaanbaatar - from MNT5,000
Horse riding, Ger Camp - MNT10,000 (2 hours)
Temple of Heaven, Beijing - CNY40
Summer Palace, Beijing - CNY50
Lama Temple, Beijing - CNY30
Hutong Cycle Tour, Beijing - from CNY150
Acrobatics Performance, Beijing - from CNY100
Kung Fu Performance, Beijing - from CNY100
Beijing Opera Performance, Beijing - CNY180




Physical Rating
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Depending on the trip, activities may include longer walks over uneven surfaces or adventure
activities like flat water kayaking or a long day's bike ride, in conditions which could be unfavourable.
You will raise your heart rate on these trips, so a basic level of aerobic fitness is required.


Culture Shock Rating
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 Expect to rough it every now and again. Simple group-share accommodation at a homestay, a
packed public bus where you are forced to stand, the odd cold shower or an encounter with a squat
toilet are some examples of what you could expect to find on a trip of this rating.
Important Notes

Please be aware that Russia requires all foreign nationals to register their passports upon arrival in
each city. Hotel rules vary as to the time period within which registration has to be submitted from
between 24 - 72 hours after arrival. Intrepid will take responsibility for registration of passports at
our first place of stay in Russia including any associated costs as well as in any cities in which we stay
for more than 72 hours. If you are arriving in Russia before the trip starting date or staying extra
days after the trip has finished, whether at our Intrepid hotels or at accommodation of your choice
you will need to be responsible for your own passport registration and any extra charges for this
service. We recommend that you request registration even if your stay in Russia pre or post trip is
only for 1 extra night. Some hotels may charge up to 500 RUB for registration. Failure to register on
arrival or post trip could lead to problems at immigration when departing the country.

To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to
attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you
are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some
useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow and St
Petersburg when you are there: www.mariinsky.ru <http://www.mariinsky.ru> , www.bolshoi.ru
<http://www.bolshoi.ru> and www.ticketsofrussia.ru <http://www.ticketsofrussia.ru> . In particular
we recommend you see what's playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to get
tickets when you are there especially during White Nights in St Petersburg.

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Russia and Asia throughout the year, some
changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to
timetables.

Please note that on occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during
regular opening hours without prior warning.

Travelling on the Trans-Mongolian railway:
This is an epic train journey that covers almost half of the world. You will be travelling through
countries that speak little or no English, where transport often runs only when it is full (and often
overflowing), where hotels and restaurants have very different ideas of service and amenities, where
the plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and the power will often just vanish. Many of the
places we visit are not used to people travelling outside of large coach tours so they will be uncertain
of how to deal with us. Bureaucracy is rife and border crossings sometimes seem never-ending. This
is a very challenging trip covering a wide range of peoples, cultures, religious and political beliefs and
is a trip that involves a lot of long travel days and nights. If you are able to bring with you a lot of
patience and a huge sense of humour, then your experience will be greatly enhanced.

Border crossings:
This trip crosses the Russia/Mongolia border on day 13 and the Mongolia/China border on day 18.

The Mongolian National festival 'Naadam' takes place in mid Jul every year. Thousands of nomads
travel from all parts of the country to take part in the celebrations in and around Ulaanbaatar, which
turns into a 'wild western' town. An open area in the outskirts of town called the 'Yarmag' turns into
a massive camp-ground and becomes home to horse herding families, horses and young race
jockeys. About 500-700 horses compete in each of the five horse races so you can imagine the size of
these festivities. Please note that there may be slight changes in the itinerary for trips running during
this time to enable us to best experience the festival.
Travel Insurance


Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for
medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also
covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel
insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your
leader.
If you have credit card insurance your tour leader will require details of the participating
insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number
rather than the Bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior
to arriving in-country.

Please go to www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
<http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php> for links to various travel insurance providers.




Visas

 Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for
your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following
information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for
yourself.

Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date. Be sure to check the
date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change
countries during your trip.

China: Citizens from Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed up to 15 days stay without a visa. All
other nationalities require a visa. When filling out the visa application form, please list the hotel in
China specified in the start, continuing or finishing point listed in the Trip Notes as the "company or
person to visit in China". You require a single entry visa to complete this trip.

Mongolia: A visa is required for travel to Mongolia for most nationalities.
Citizens of the USA, Singapore, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Israel, Hong Kong, Thailand
and Cuba have a visa free agreement with Mongolia. Most embassies do not require a letter of
invitation for a Mongolian visa. However, should you be required to present one with your visa
application please contact us.
When filling out the visa application form please list the hosting company or individual in Mongolia
as:
Monkhutuch Travel Co. Ltd
Bayangol district, Building 19-3
Tel: +976 11 364 708
+976 991 99291
Russia: All nationalities require a visa to enter Russia. You will need a visa support letter in order to
apply for your Russian visa. You can obtain this letter through our visa support agent in Russia by
completing our online visa application form. The visa support link will be sent to you or your travel
agent at the time of booking and will also be sent to the email address that you give our sales
department. You must read the instructions carefully and fill out all the details. Your visa support
letter in PDF format will be emailed to you or your travel agent directly within 5 business days upon
submission of your online application. Please check carefully that the dates on the invitation
correspond with when you will leave Russia if you are planning to stay a few extra days post trip.
Visa extensions do not exist in Russia! Please also carefully check the spelling of your name and that
your passport number is correct. You can then apply for your Russian visa by going to your closest
Russian consulate or by using a visa service recommended by your travel agent. Please note that we
do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of
official residence as your application may be refused. We advise that you do not obtain your visa
until 6 weeks prior to your trip departing in the unlikely event that the trip does not meet the
minimum number of 4 participants. Processing time and costs can vary between countries, so please
check with your individual consulate. The visa support letter, along with your application form,
passport and 2 photos are usually sufficient to obtain your Russian visa but you will need to check
the specific requirements of your place of application as other documents, such as proof of onward
travel, may be required.

All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card. The entry portion of the
card will be retained by Immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept
with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to Immigration upon departure. If you
are not given a migration card at Immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the
immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the
card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for
registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure.

Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that
country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few
days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The
following are the international/administrative border crossings for this trip:
Day 13 - Exit Russia at Naushki and enter Mongolia at Sukhbaatar
Day 18 - Exit Mongolia at Zamyn Uud and enter China at Erlian
To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very
useful - http://www.timeanddate.com/date/dateadd.html


Health

 All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group
travel experience. If in the opinion of our group leader or company representative any traveller is
unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group,
Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. We therefore
ask that you read the itinerary in these trip notes thoroughly and then realistically self-assess your
physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any
doubts.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for
up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, travel sickness tablets, anti-malarial
requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses before your departure. We recommend that
you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of
glasses) as we do travel to areas that are away from medical facilities. Please be aware that for legal
reasons any leaders/guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache
tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Please contact us at help@intrepidtravel.com should you require any clarification on what is
involved on your itinerary. For travellers over 70 years a completed Intrepid Medical certificate is
required.

Intrepid is very aware of the health issues raised by bird flu and SARS and these have been taken into
consideration for all aspects of the trip you are about to take. Intrepid reserve the right to make last
minute changes to any itinerary in the very unlikely occurrence that an area should suddenly be
deemed to be unsafe because of an outbreak of bird flu, SARS or other disease.

Giardia intestinalis, a parasite that causes severe diarrhoea has been reported from time to time in
the water supply in St Petersburg. For this reason Intrepid recommends against drinking unboiled
tap water in all Russian cites.

In spring and early summer in rural areas of Russia and Mongolia ticks are prevalent. Please take
precautions when walking in these areas by wearing long trousers and boots and check your clothes
and body thoroughly.

The diet and hygiene standards of Russia, Mongolia and Central Asia may be very different from
what you are used to so please take care with washing hands before meals etc and bring some
medication/re hydration salts etc should you experience stomach problems.




Physical Preparation

A good level of fitness will be expected and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip.

There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes.
Rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. If you
experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.


Money Exchange

Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following
website: www.oanda.com <http://www.oanda.com/> .

Generally the most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in Asia is via an
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat - this can draw from your home account or from a
credit card (debit card) at a superior exchange rate. Most ATM's will also give you a cash advance on
your credit card but be wary of high fees imposed by banks. Check with your bank for information on
their international fees. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the
telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Please ensure you
have advised your bank of your intended travel and withdrawal locations. While traveller's cheques
have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to
10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you
choose to bring travellers cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.

Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn
or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks.
Please ensure that you have new, clean notes. This applies to your Local Payment as well as
everyday spending money. Where USD is required, we recommend that you arrive with your local
payment money already exchanged.

China: The local currency in China is the Chinese Renminbi, whose main unit is the Yuan (RMB or
CNY) and it is the only currency that can be used. It is advisable to take most of your money in
Chinese Yuan or US dollars (which can be easily exchanged to local currency). Other currencies such
as Australian Dollars, Euros, and Yen can also be exchanged but not as readily. There can be long
delays when changing traveller's cheques. Major credit cards are only accepted in businesses in large
cities but ATM's are widely available throughout China and work with most Visa and MasterCard's.
We recommend that you don't use money changers on the street.

Mongolia: The local currency is the Mongolian tugrik (MNT) which may only be obtained within
Mongolia. The safest way to carry your money is as traveller's cheques which can be exchanged at
most banks and currency exchange points in Ulaanbaatar. The easiest currencies to exchange are
USD and EUR, although it is possible to exchange RUB, CNY and other currencies at some exchange
points. Larger denomination notes often attract a better exchange rate. Please be aware that there
are no reliable banking or exchange facilities outside of Ulaanbaatar. Major credit cards may be
accepted in some shops and restaurants in the capital. Some banks will allow cash advances against
a credit card but cash withdrawals are subject to a 5% or more service charge. In Ulaanbaatar you
may be able to find ATMs that accept international cards and use them to withdraw local currency;
however these should not be relied on as your sole financial source. Some souvenir sellers and
tourist restaurants may accept USD or EUR as payment but all other purchases in Mongolia must be
made in local currency.

Russia: The local currency in Russia is the Russian rouble (RUB) of which 100 kopeks = 1 rouble.
While the safest way to carry your money may be as traveller's cheques, in Russia there can be
extremely long delays when changing them and in some areas on this trip exchanging them might
prove completely impossible. For this reason they are NOT recommended for Russia. The most
reliable way to access local money is to bring and exchange USD or EUR cash at currency exchange
offices but you need to be aware of the security risk of carrying large sums of money. In any case
some money should be taken as cash in case of emergencies. Due to the restrictions on changing
money in Russia, only USD50 and USD100 notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition (no
creases, marks, stamps or tears) will be accepted. Major credit cards may be accepted in larger
shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks in major cities will allow cash
advances against a credit card but cash withdrawals are subject to a 5% or more service charge.
Along the way you may be able to find ATMs that accept foreign cards to withdraw local currency.
All purchases in Russia must be made in local currency.


Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers
may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most.
Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping,
participating in optional activities and tipping. Please also remember the following specific
recommendations when planning your trip.


Tipping


If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it
may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you
during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry
across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient
by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

Restaurants: Restaurants/cafes with table service - round your bill up to the nearest 10 RUB
(Russia)/1000 MNT(Mongolia)/nearest 100 or 1000 (Central Asia). In more up-market restaurants we
suggest 5% to 10% of your bill, however check if a service charge has already been added. In China
tip[ping in restaurants is not common practice.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader.
We suggest 30-50 RUB (Russia)/1-2 USD (Mongolia, Central Asia, 5-10 CNY (China) per person per
day for local guides with the amount adjusted accordingly for guides who are with you for less than a
full day.

Porters: In some hotels in China a porter may offer to carry your bag to your room. We suggest 5
CNY per bag for porters.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey
while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more
involved with the group however a base of 30 RUBS/1 USD (Russia/Central Asia), 5 CNY (China) per
person (Russia/Central Asia), per day is generally appropriate, with the amount adjusted accordingly
for drivers who are with you for less than a full day.

Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout
your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline 50 RUB/2 USD
(Russia/Central Asia) 10 CNY (China) or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip per person,
per day can be used.

Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service
quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given
when you receive excellent service.




Departure Tax

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Emergency Funds

Please also make sure you have access to an additional USD$400, to be used when unforeseen
incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of
bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.


Issues On Your Trip

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of
travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while
you are on your trip it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner
straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative
impact on the rest of your trip.

 We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to
resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case please ask the leader if you may speak to
their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback which we ask you to complete
within 30 days of the end of your trip but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to
provide any practical help after the trip is complete.


Keeping in Touch - communication while on the road

If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend email. Email cafes are generally
available throughout the regions we visit, although it is possible you may be without email contact
for several days on some itineraries. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you
are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our
emergency contact details. We don't recommend that family and friends try to contact you through
hotels, as they are subject to change and the reception staff may not speak English.


Emergency Contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's St Petersburg Office can be reached on Tel:
+7 911 7033155. For further contact details please use the following page:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/.


Your Fellow Travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the
frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the
world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and
preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the
benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If
you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group
waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the
dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Please note that due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any
personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.


Group Leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is
to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid
endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of
travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other
group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for
things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general
knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If
you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your
leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.



Responsible Travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means
that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that
we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please refer to our website at
www.intrepidtravel.com/responsibletravel <http://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsibletravel/> for
further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the
laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of
local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's
philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local
people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely
contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if
drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation

Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we have been committed to giving something
back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian,
development and conservation projects.          Many of our travellers want to contribute something
too. To make things easier we established The Intrepid Foundation Inc. All donations to The Intrepid
Foundation are matched dollar for dollar by Intrepid Travel and every cent        gets there as
Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your
group leader for information on the projects we support in-country through The Intrepid
Foundation;       or go to our website: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
<http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org>


Responsible Travel Project

In China the Intrepid Foundation supports Beijing Huiling and Xi’an Huiling - community-based, non-
profit organizations that care for and provide life-skills training for mentally disabled young people.
We also support the Spring Bud Plan, a public service organized by the China Children and
Teenagers' Fund that assists girls of poor areas of China to return to school.

Mongolia: In Mongolia Intrepid supports Lotus Children's Centre - a centre for underprivileged and
abandoned children in suburban Ulaanbaatar founded in 1993 by Australian Didi Kalika. Through
quality education, meaningful activities and by creating small family groups, the Lotus Centre tries to
give children a chance to make a positive future. Today 148 children call the Lotus Centre home.
Mongolia is a newly democratic, developing country with a large proportion of its population under
25 and issues affecting young people form some of the most crucial social areas that need to be
addressed. Intrepid groups support Lotus through regular visits to the centre and the cafe in
Ulaanbaatar which they operate.
Lotus is currently requesting donations of the following items: Anti fungal cream, scabies cream, arts
& crafts materials for school, such as beads, nylon string, coloured paper, embroidery cotton,
knitting needles and wool, simple embroidery or cross-stitch sets, baby items - soap, shampoo,
nappies, nappy rash cream, chicken pox creams, moisturiser, sun block, insect repellent, school bags.
If you have brought something to donate please let your leader know and they will pass it on to
Lotus on your behalf.
Lotus Children's Centre is supported by the Intrepid Foundation.

Russia: In Russia Intrepid supports Nochlezhka - a local NGO that works to support the homeless by
providing social, legal and health services. Nochlezhka was established in 1990 when homelessness
in Russia was classified as a crime and anyone without official registration and employment could be
imprisoned for up to two years. Nochlezhka actively fought against this terrible abuse of human
rights and in December 1991, the articles of the Criminal Code concerning the homeless were
abolished. They have since continued their work in defending the rights of the homeless through
projects such as a legal aid service, a night shelter, public education and a street paper. Intrepid
groups support Nochlezhka through monetary donations towards their Night Bus project - a mobile
support unit that provides food, medical and social help to St Petersburg's suburban homeless, and
by donating unneeded clothing and toiletries at the end of our trips. Nochlezhka is supported by the
Intrepid Foundation.


Laundry
In China there are local laundries where you can take your washing to be done. In Russia and Central
Asia public laundries are practically non existent and hotel laundry services can be expensive. We
recommend that you hand wash like the locals! We suggest you bring non polluting/biodegradable
soap for doing your own laundry.



What to Take

 What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are
visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On
the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you will not
be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the
weight under 10kg/22lb.

Please note that some airlines we use on our trips may have a luggage limit of 10-15kg per person
over which excess luggage fees may apply. We advise that you pack to keep your luggage under this
weight limit as excess luggage fees are the sole responsibility of the traveller.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap
would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we
recommend your bag has carry straps. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a
camera etc for daytrips.

The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In
addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and
200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural
environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by bringing and using a water purification
method. Some of the options are:

Water purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.

2% tincture of iodine available from pharmacies - used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at
least 20 minutes. Longer in very cold weather.

In some parts of Russia and Central Asia it is important to boil drinking water before use.

During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and "talk" with locals. One way to
start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of
your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc. Another
good tip is to bring badges/pins from your country as many people that you meet will appreciate a
small memento of your home.




Checklist
 The following checklist is to be used as a guide only and is not intended to be a complete packing
list. Any other items that you wish to pack are at your own discretion however you should attempt
to comply with the suggested luggage weight limit.

Travel documents: passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, Intrepid voucher
Health requirements arranged
Money: traveller's cheques/cash/credit card and money pouch
Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day
First aid kit
Medication/prescriptions (it is a good idea to have a doctors letter if you are carrying a large amount
of medication), travel sickness tablets if required
Prescription glasses and contact lens solution if required
Alarm clock
Torch/flashlight
Travel plug/international adapter
Insect repellent
Refillable water bottle and water purification method
Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
Swimming costume
Lightweight travel towel
Ear plugs/eye mask
Comfortable walking shoes
Local language phrase book
Camera, film and/or memory cards with spare batteries
Personal audio player with spare batteries
Raincoat/umbrella
Waterproof jacket

Cutlery, mug and bowl for the train journeys
Flip flops or thongs for on the trains and at home stays
Personal hygiene products (items such as tampons and deodorant can be difficult to buy in these
countries)
Inner sheet/sleeping sheet for train journeys (clean sheets are provided on the train but you may
want to bring your own)
Comfortable clothes for the train
Loose, lightweight clothes for hot weather
Some warmer clothes for when at altitude and cooler months
Lock for your bag




Local Dress

The climate in Russia and surrounding region is extremely varied. From October until May you can
expect temperatures close to and below zero, while from June until September temperatures can
reach well above 30 C. For departures October to May you will need to bring a warm windproof
jacket, scarf, gloves, warm hat and waterproof footwear. On all other departures it can still get quite
cool at night especially when in the countryside so we recommend that you bring a warm jacket or
fleece.
We recommend that you dress respectfully at all stages of the trip especially when in and around
religious sites. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for both men and women.
Women are advised to cover their heads when entering functioning churches in Russia, while men
should remove their hats.


Safety

 Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved
with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest
travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's Safety page for links to major
travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
<http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety> .
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping
of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home -
you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most
secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities however during your trip you will have
some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While
your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any
optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no
representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.
Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note
that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is
deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please
refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy at www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
<http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety> .
We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and
would appreciate any feedback on how well it is being implemented in the field.
Please note that helmets are not provided for the sightseeing on bicycles.

Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is
usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available. If riding without a
helmet is a concern then you should bring our own.

As is the norm in Asia, much of the accommodation used on this trip does not have smoke detectors
in individual rooms. Some of the hotels we use on this trip have swimming pools that are not fenced.



Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the
price of your next trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 4 weeks of finishing your trip. Go
to: www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback <http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback>
Thanks!


We Want Your Photos
Do you want to see your travel photos published? To celebrate all that is travel photography,
Intrepid hold an annual Intrepid Photography Competition. There are five categories - real life
experiences, travelling families, local friends, landscapes, icons - each with a fabulous prizes.For
more information, entry form and competition conditions, please visit
www.intrepidtravel.com/photocomp <http://www.intrepidtravel.com/photocomp> . Send entries to
The Editor,
Intrepid Travel,
PO Box 2781,
Fitzroy DC 3065,
Victoria, Australia.


Intrepid Express

Express is our email newsletter that is full of interesting and exciting regular features, travel tips,
competitions, great giveaways, reviews, recipes, travellers' stories and money saving specials! Plus
we give you the chance to WIN an Intrepid trip every week - subscribe for free at
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